The festival was celebrated in the village of Sesetan, a place steeped in tradition and rich in culture. It was said that the Omed-Omedan had its origins in an ancient tale of unrequited love, and since then, it has evolved into a lively and captivating event.

Omed-Omedan, also known as the “Kissing Festival,” was a day of merriment and camaraderie that took place the day after Nyepi, the Balinese New Year’s Day of silence and reflection. On Nyepi, the entire village observed silence, fasting, and self-reflection, creating a sharp contrast to the exuberance of Omed Omedan that followed.

As the sun began to rise on the day after Nyepi, the villagers gathered in the central square. The main attraction was a stretch of road that was cleared of traffic and lined with curious onlookers. Young men and women stood in separate groups, giggling and whispering in anticipation of the festivities.

The tradition had its origins in a local legend. It was said that a long time ago, there was a young man and woman who were deeply in love but too shy to express their feelings. On this particular day, the whole village came together to encourage them to show their affection publicly. The couple eventually overcame their shyness and shared a kiss, triggering a burst of applause and cheers from the crowd. This moment of affection became the foundation for Omed Omedan.

As the festivities commenced, the young villagers began to playfully spray water at each other using buckets, hoses, and water guns. Laughter echoed through the air as friends and neighbors drenched each other in the water, a symbol of cleansing and renewal after the introspective Nyepi. The atmosphere was filled with joy, and the barriers between the young men and women began to dissolve.

Then, the highlight of the event arrived. The village elders would signal the start of the “kissing” part of the festival. Young men would approach the young women, offering them gentle kisses on the cheek. The exchange was lighthearted and jovial, with the aim of fostering connections and sparking new friendships, and perhaps even romances.

Over the years, Omed Omedan evolved into a cherished tradition that celebrated unity, love, and togetherness. It became a symbol of the village’s strong communal spirit and its willingness to embrace both solemnity and joy. As the sun set on the day’s festivities, the villagers returned to their homes, their hearts full of the laughter, friendships, and connections they had forged throughout the day.

And so, the Omed Omedan tradition continued to thrive, reminding the people of Bali and visitors alike that even in the most modest of villages, love, laughter, and unity could create the most memorable and cherished moments.